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STRUTHERS Council president is sorry -- sort of



Published: Sun, May 6, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Council president and the mayor are both praying in their own way.

By PAUL WHEATLEY

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

STRUTHERS -- Council President Michael Orenic acknowledges that a message he left on Mayor Dan Mamula's voice mail Thursday afternoon was unprofessional, but he's sticking by it.

In a two-page fax, Orenic apologized Saturday for what he called "the unprofessional use of a few words" but he also calls Mamula a man of no conscience, character or morals.

What it's about: Orenic reiterated his opposition to the mayor's support of his opponent in Tuesday's election for council president, Councilman Danny Thomas Jr., D-1st, and said Mamula is now using the message he left on his voice mail as a political issue.

Mamula said he expected all of this after getting the first message, in which Orenic said the mayor sold his soul to the devil.

Now both men say they are praying for each other.

Drug wish: In the original message, Orenic, a principal at Byzantine Catholic Central School, said he would pray to God every night that Mamula's children and grandchildren get hooked on drugs.

Mamula, who has three grown children and three grandchildren, is responding with prayers of his own.

"The man is going off the edge, and I pray to God he gets some help," Mamula said. "That [message] was evoking God's will against my family. That's not just unprofessional use of a few words."

Lie alleged: Orenic's fax contends that Mamula lied to him during a private meeting in the mayor's office Wednesday night.

"The mayor said he understood how I felt and that he wasn't openly supporting Thomas, which I later found out to be a lie," Orenic wrote.

Mamula contends he has supported Thomas openly for two or three months and placed one of Thomas' campaign signs in his yard in April.

Cocaine conviction: Orenic's main opposition to Thomas is a 1987 federal conviction for cocaine distribution.

"As an educator, I cannot understand in my heart or justify anyone supporting an individual who sold drugs to our children for a living," Orenic wrote in his fax.

Mamula said he did not support Thomas' first two attempts at office after the conviction but said the councilman has reformed himself.

"He showed me he is capable despite all that," Mamula said. "He never hid from his problem. Who am I to judge now?"




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